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Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Books, Girly Things, Giveaway | 17 comments

Kit Life Giveaway + An Official Hashtag

Good morning and happy Monday to you! I hope you’re checking in today after a restful weekend. We got snowed in, which hijacked plans I had to go to Florida for a quick trip, but we made the most of the cozy weekend at home and enjoyed our first Georgia snowfall.

Last week I shared some of my personal goals for 2017. Today, I’m popping in to share one of the tools I’m using to help me stay on track with my goals!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you’ve probably read about my love for a good ole’ school planner. I know in today’s world, everyone keeps their life on their digital device but I still cling to my paper calendar because I love the joy that fills my soul when I physically cross something off my to-do list. I also feel like writing tasks and appointments down by hand helps me commit them to memory. And I just don’t trust technology. The other day I accidentally deleted a note from my i-phone. Suddenly, there was a “whoosh” and it was gone and I was freaking out because I couldn’t figure out how to get it back (I’ll fast forward to the ending of that dramatic story for you: I never did figure out how to get it back).

This year I am using the Kit Life Crown Planner to keep track of my daily to-do lists, appointments, reminders, birthdays, vacations and goals. I’m already in love with this planner and we aren’t even half way through January yet!

I initially fell in love with the Kit Life Planner because the cover was beautiful. That’s right. I judged a book by it’s cover. Don’t act like you’ve never done it.

But upon opening it and diving into it’s pages, I realized this planner was even more beautiful on the inside. This calendar is designed for the girl who wants the ‘big picture’ to guide her life, rather than being driven by random daily to-do lists.

Every 3 months, there is a quarterly check-in page. This page makes you stop and think about not only where you are in relation to your big picture goals, but also what your intentions are for the next quarter. It allows you to pause and rejoice over what you’ve accomplished and also refocus on the areas that need some extra TLC. It also has a space for personal inventory, which I think is so great. You can jot down the current details of your weight, sleep, overall health, etc. I wrote all these things down on the last day of 2016 and while I was content with my weight and activity levels, I made sure to note that my sleep patterns have been atrocious, causing me to feel less than healthy. Something about actually writing that down made me realize that I’ve got to make my sleep a priority. As a result, I decided to commit to reading a book each night before bed (instead of working on my laptop in bed). I’ve already seen a drastic improvement in my sleep + I get the bonus of quality reading time, which is another goal I have in my planner – to read more books this year (I know, how cliche of me).

As far as the actual day-to-day pages go, my favorite feature is “The Big 3” box. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this box is, but I have personally made it my space for writing down the 3 most important things of the day – and those ‘things’ aren’t necessarily tangible tasks. For me, they are usually the things that can’t be quickly checked off, but rather thoughts I want to keep in mind as I navigate my day. So for example, one day last week I just wrote “Embrace my children” I wanted to be sure that as I went about doing laundry, responding to e-mails and paying bills that I consistently took a break to embrace my kids in the crazy, loud and messy stage they are in. Another day I wrote “Lower my expectations of this world” and that worked out nicely since that was the day I took Atlas to the dentist to find out he’s got some cavities. When I looked back at my calendar to schedule his follow up appointment, I was reminded that this world isn’t supposed to be perfect and free from trouble and pain.

The other section I love is the “Gratitude” box found on each day. I’ve been writing down 2-3 things I’m thankful for before bed in the evening. I find that it’s a positive way to end a productive day (or not-so-productive day…because let’s be honest – those unproductive days are common during this season of motherhood). This tiny section has big implications for me because it reminds me daily that I am balancing so many blessings. Whether I am running a sick child to the doctor or I’m drowning in laundry (or both), I can always find something to be grateful for. I am constantly muttering the phrase ‘balancing blessings’ under my breath as I go about my day because it helps keep my stress in perspective. Because I say it so much around my house, I’m going to start saying it on social media too. I’m going to be using the #balancingblessings this year and if you like it, feel free to use it too! I’m declaring that the official hashtag of Cupcakes n Crunches. Wait, can Cupcakes n Crunches have an official hashtag? Please say yes! Don’t crush my dorky dreams.

Anyways, other cool features included in Kit Life Planners are:

  • The Peek at the Week: This allows you to see an overview of your week ahead – I like to think of it as my ‘bird’s eye view.’
  • The Wellness Box: This is where I write my daily workout goals and dinner menu. This is also where I’m reminded that I don’t drink enough water each day (8 glasses is a lot, ya’ll). I seriously find myself chugging water at night now just so I can cross those dang water glasses off my day.
  • Monthly Page: This page appears at the beginning of each month and is filled with fitness tips and fun facts about the specific month ahead.

There are a few more features that I love, but this post is getting lengthy so I’ll wrap it up and get to the good part!

GIVEAWAY

YOU have a chance to win a Kit Life planner of your own! One lucky girl will win a Kit Life Classic planner this week on my blog. If you crave organization and you are hoping to live 2017 with more focus and intention, then this giveaway is totally for you!

To enter the giveaway you just have to:

  • Follow me (AshleyMarieAndrews) AND Kit Life (KitLifePlanners) on Instagram
  • Like the picture on my IG associated with this giveaway AND leave a comment on this post telling me a goal you have for 2017!

That’s it! Easy Peasy!

*For a BONUS entry, you can comment on my IG post associated with this giveaway by tagging a girlfriend! Every girlfriend tagged counts as an extra entry!*

The giveaway closes on Thursday night at 9pm and I will announce the winner in Friday’s blog post, so be sure to enter by Thursday night!

I owe a HUGE thank-you to the sweet girls at Kit Life for partnering with me to bring you this awesome giveaway! I love sharing my favorite products with you guys and not only do I adore my Kit Life planner, but I also believe in the company’s mission and I love the girls behind the brand. I’m so honored to get to partner with them to share the love! 🙂

Now, let’s make the best of 2017 and balance those blessings like a boss, shall we?

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Books, Desserts, Fashion, Girly Things, Motherhood, Sprinkles | 6 comments

Life Lately: Favorite Things

Phew! This week was a long one, ya’ll. Potty training isn’t for the faint of heart (Atlas is doing so so good, but it still requires me to drop whatever I am doing 46 times a day to go to the bathroom with him) and my kids decided they only wanted their naps to overlap 1 day this week, so after Monday I never experienced another nap time. I feel like a big ole’ stress ball today since I count on nap time to get all the things done, but I’m pretty much over it and ready to embrace all the glory of the weekend (read: I’m ready to stuff my face with pizza & wine tonight and call it a week)! Before I check out for the weekend, I wanted to share some things with you that I’ve been loving lately and I think you will love too! 🙂

Honest Beauty Lipsticks

 

Honest Beauty

Oh.Em.Gee. Ya’ll! This lipstick. It is SO good. I bought it after watching a beauty vlogger rave about it and it more than lived up to the hype. I think we can all agree that Jessica Alba can do no wrong. She is perfection, so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at how great her new beauty line is. This may be my favorite lipstick I’ve ever owned just based on the formula and how hydrating it is. It isn’t drying at all. It isn’t sticky. It really is the perfect grab-n-go lipstick. I am wearing it in the shade honey kiss above. It is a good, soft neutral/nude that’s perfect for everyday wear. I also ordered the shade Marsala Kiss after loving honey kiss so much. Marsala Kiss is a gorgeous shade for fall. I really love the pink shades, but I thought with fall right around the corner I wanted something with a darker tone, but seriously – all my will power is going into not ordering every shade. I also got the lip gloss in creative kiss and I love it just as much and it pairs perfectly with marsala kiss. They are priced at $18, so really right in between your drugstore lipstick and your higher end brands like YSL/Nars. I’m not affiliated with Honest Beauty at all – this is an unbiased review. I just genuinely love the product that much and wanted to share it with any of my girls looking for some new beauty products to try.

Toddler Lunch Plate

 

Toddler Lunch Plate

My sister gave me this idea when we moved to Atlanta and it’s probably one that all my mom friends already know about, but just in case you’re like me and didn’t know about this genius trick I wanted to share it here. I’ve been serving Atlas’ lunch in this adorable silicone cupcake pan (Similar cute pan here too) and he thinks it is the greatest thing ever! He loves when he gets his ‘special plate’ and it makes lunch time a littler easier. Also, it makes it easier for me to tell exactly what he ate and exactly what he didn’t eat because all his food is separated. Mama friends, if you haven’t tried this trick with your toddlers, give it a try.

Levain’s Copycat Cookie Recipe

 

Image

I linked this recipe on the blog last week, but it is worth mentioning again. I’ve since made another batch of these cookies and I think it may be my new favorite cookie recipe. No cookie will ever truly compare to the Heavenly monster cookies from Levain’s (one of our favorite bakeries when we lived in NYC), but this copycat recipe is pretty darn close. They are SO thick and cake-like and my kids LOVE them. If you’re looking to make homemade cookies, give this recipe a try and make sure you use cake flour – I think that makes all the difference.

The Red Sea Rules Book

 

The Red Sea Rules

My mom got this book for Dave & me after Dave’s uncle passed away last month and I’ve been slowly working my way through it (my children don’t allow me a lot of time to read) and it has really encouraged my heart so much. The author uses the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea after being led out of Egypt to deliver 10 strategies for walking through seemingly impossible situations. The book isn’t long, but it is such a good read and a great reminder that sometimes God leads us to scary places, just as He did with the Israelites, to grow our faith and exalt His glory. I have a tendency to immediately think, “How can I get out of this?” when I’m in an uncomfortable place and this book is challenging me to instead ask the question, “How can God’s name be glorified in this?” If you or someone you know is struggling right now (divorce, break-up, financial stress, job loss, death of a loved one, life in a new city, etc), I would totally recommend this book (it is less than $10). I also think it is worth mentioning that the author even discusses those situations in life that we get into as a result of our own foolish decisions and I found that chapter to be very encouraging (because Lord knows I’ve led myself into some murky waters in the past).

Mama, if you’re reading, thanks for the great gift! 🙂

Raw Probiotics for Kids

Probiotics for Kids

A few weeks ago when our house got hit with yet another stomach virus, our sweet neighbor ran this probiotic powder for kids down and told me to try it with Atlas & Andi Rose. Andi Rose seems to always have tummy issues and I’ve been mixing this powder with her baby yogurt or apple sauce and her tummy does seem to be doing a lot better the last 2 weeks, so I’m going to keep on using this stuff. I ordered some of our own after my neighbor let us try her powder and neither of my kids have even noticed that I’m mixing it into their food once a day. It is supposed to promote digestive health and help support the immune system and after all the sicknesses we’ve had in our house the last 4 months, I’m willing to try anything. My neighbor raved about it and it got great reviews on Amazon and after 2 weeks of giving it to my kids, I’m digging it too. Andi Rose hasn’t had one tummy issue in the last 2 weeks. *knock on wood*

Also, hooray for sweet southern neighbors! I just love good people.

Black Booties

 

Fall_Boots

I realized after I published yesterday’s outfit post, that I probably should have linked some other black booties in case any of you were in the market for a pair but didn’t want to splurge on a designer pair. I think black booties are a must-have for fall, and I’m itching to bust out mine and all my other fall accessories! If you’re on the hunt for some black booties to rock with jeans/black pants/dresses then check out some of the ones I’m linking in this paragraph. I actually bought these block heel booties for my mom as a thank-you gift during the #nsale. I tried them on and fell in love with them. They are comfortable and they look beautiful on. I also want these so bad, but I’m pretty sure Dave will send me to some sort of rehab if I order 1 more pair of shoes. These Sole Society booties are less than $100 and I actually tried these on in Nordstroms and I was shocked to realize they were by Toms because they were so cute! (Not that Toms can’t be cute…but you know what I’m saying, right?) And these Splendid booties are super cute (I love the shade nut suede too).

And that’s a wrap for this week, friends! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Leave a comment below telling me what you’re loving this week – and make it good because I love reading your comments! 😉

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2013 in Books | 0 comments

What Alice Forgot

Guess who was home sick today? This girl. I didn’t sleep good last night due to the fever I was running and I woke up this morning feeling achy, congested and clammy. After purchasing $35 worth of cold medicine, I think I’m finally on the upswing. I still don’t feel 100% tonight, but hopefully I’ll be back at work tomorrow and in my running shoes by Saturday.

The highlight of my day was dinner. Dave made me a grilled cheese and tomato soup. He also bought me a bag of cookies n cream hershey kisses. I have yet to try them since I can’t taste anything right now, but as soon as I regain my sweet tooth and ability to taste things, I’ll report back. I suppose there are a few perks to being sick. Who doesn’t love home cooked meals and candy? 😉

Since I spent the day in bed, I got the chance to finish Liane Moriarty’s book, What Alice Forgot. I began reading this novel last week and I could hardly put it down. Here’s a description of the book, which was featured on Oprah.com

What Alice Forgot centers on a woman who goes to the gym, hits her head, and loses all memory of the past decade, which was apparently quite eventful: While Alice wakes up thinking she’s 29, deliriously happy in her marriage and newly pregnant, in fact she’s a 39-year-old mother of three in the midst of a hideous divorce. What happened? Alice tries to piece it together with the help of her sister, whose own past is so riddled with loss that she might welcome some amnesia herself. Funny and knowing, especially about the details of domesticity, this agile novel is also a light-handed look at what we choose to remember, and fight to forget.

I was engaged in this story from the very beginning. Alice wakes up from her head injury with a changed perspective on life and as I finished reading about her plight, I too found myself developing a new perspective on life and the relationships that deserve the most protection and attention. There were several mysteries that stemmed from Alice’s predicament, which had me wanting to ‘just read 1 more chapter.’ I felt like this had the light hearted feel of your typical chick-lit, but after finishing the book I believe it actually had a profound message and raised some thought provoking questions for the reader. For example, would forgetting all the bad times of life be worth forgetting all the good times? Would your younger self be shocked at the life you’re currently living? Would you be proud at what you’ve become? Reading about how both Alice’s marriage with Nick and relationship with her sister, Elisabeth, slowly disintegrated over the years really challenged me to look at some of the relationships in my own life. The author paints a picture in which a heart is not simply broken overnight, but rather gruelingly chipped over time. I felt like this was more in line with the reality many couples face and when I finished this book I felt the need to go hug Dave and kiss his cheek (remember, I’m still sick) just because I was thankful for how hard he tries for me and us. This book details the bliss of young love, the power of true love and the possibilities that come from true forgiveness in a beautiful blend of comedy and drama.

There were really 3 plots to this story; The life of Alice, the life of Elisabeth (Alice’s sister) and the life of Frannie (Alice’s honorary grandmother). I found myself fascinated by all 3 characters and genuinely interested in the trials they each faced.

The entire book was magnificently written and the ending was wrapped up nicely, like a beautiful package.

I don’t want to give away too many details because I want you to read it. Then I want you to call me so we can talk about all the characters like they’re people we actually know. Okay? Okay.

 

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